Cultural Evidence for Monistic Idealism
Monistic idealism implies that reality is composed of a single mental substance and mind is the ultimate foundation for reality. We’ve seen the logical and philosophical argument for boundless Mind being the source of our being and the foundation of who we are. But is there cultural evidence to support this? It turns out that there is enormous cultural evidence revealing this but the ancients had a way of hiding deep truths that were not immediately self-evident. The evidence comes from the secret behind multiple gods, culture heroes, mysticism, and finally Christianity itself.
The evidence we get when examining multiple gods is in the realization that the true purpose of the multiple gods were in the expression of different attributes of a single divine being. It turns out that the expression of a single divine being in multiple forms displaying multiple attributes was so that the masses could relate to beings that were not incomprehensibly overwhelming with boundless qualities. A common person could relate to a being that looked like them and only expressed a single attribute that was superhuman. The revelation that multiple gods were representations of different aspects of a single divine entity was reserved for the devout that were deemed able to handle the greater revelation and were initiated into the knowledge. This understanding that a single divine entity was expressed in multiple forms to be relatable is our first clue in understanding that all multiplicity in the world is connected as one.
But don’t take my word for it. The historian Rawlinson expresses this…
It may perhaps be suspected from such instances of connection and quasi-convertibility, that an esoteric doctrine, known to the priests and communicated by them to the kings, taught the real identity of the several gods and goddesses, who may have been understood by the better instructed to represent, not distinct and separate beings, but the several phases of the divine nature.
This is certainly true in Hinduism as well. The several hundreds of gods are all supposed to be different emanations of the one God Brahma. Even nature worshippers and animists with their masculine and feminine god will tell you that God is represented in masculine and feminine form so that people can relate to God but that the masculine and feminine gods are really part of a single God that is infinite and unknowable. In fact, behind every religion there is a remnant of a single infinite but unknowable God. Once you wrap your head around the concept that a boundless divine being can be expressed in multiple forms you take a step closer to understanding that multiple beings, like the billions represented in the human population, can be expressions of a single boundless being in whom we find our existence.
The next accumulation of cultural evidence can be found in the representations of the culture heroes in virtually every culture. There are widespread correspondences in each of the myths of the culture hero. Very often the same stories with only slight variations are told by the Eskimos and the aborigines of South Africa, by the Carib Indians and the natives of Polynesia, and around the globe. This culture hero is invariably a mix between god and man. Their father was a god and their mother was a mortal woman. Some examples of this culture hero can be seen in the stories of the Greek and Roman heroes Oedipus, Theseus, Romulus, Heracles, Perseus, Jason, Bellerophon, Pelops, Asclepios, Dionysus, and Apollo; The Eyptian hero Horus, the Javanese hero Watu Gunung, the Shiluk tribe’s hero of the Upper Nile Nyikang, and the heroes of northern Europe Sigurd or Siegfried and Llew Llawgyffes. Dr. Otto Rank puts it this way:
The history of the birth and of the early life of (glorified national heroes)… in different nations – even though widely separated by space and entirely independent of each other – present a baffling similarity or, in part, a literal correspondence. Many investigators have long been impressed with this fact, and one of the chief problems of mythological research still consists in the elucidation of the reason for the extensive analogies in the fundamental outlines of mythological tales, which are rendered still more puzzling by the unanimity in certain details and their reappearance in the most of the mythical groupings.
The most popular of the culture heroes we know as Jesus Christ. However, he is the only historical figure of the group. What is significant and interesting with all of these culture heroes is that they serve to be scapegoats, dying for the sins of the culture. However, they invariably defeat death through resurrection or rebirth and offer a way of salvation and atonement to the culture. They serve to focus our attention on the continuation of existence after death. More importantly here they represent a connection between god and humanity as they bridge the gap being both divine and human. This is a cultural clue we were intended to meditate on.
Mysticism went hand in hand with the polytheistic religions in each culture. This was the form initiation into the deeper knowledge of the religion took. The deeper reality was always hidden from the common man. Perhaps this is because the knowledge of reality is counterintuitive to everyday common experience. In any case, mysticism revealed the secret behind the religious system of many gods and the culture hero link between god and humanity. Mysticism ultimately revealed that all things are One. It revealed that the Father god or source of the culture hero Son of god were both one and the same.
Most importantly it revealed that the initiate was identified with the culture hero and One with god as well. It did this through a process of three levels of initiation. In the first level of initiation the initiate was taught to hear and listen to a still small voice within them that would lead and guide them. They were taught that this was a daemon. They viewed this daemon as a sort of guardian angel. In the writings of Plato, Socrates reveals that he has a daemon he listens to who protected him from taking the wrong paths in life. The second level of initiation reveals to initiates that the voice within them leading and teaching them is actually their higher self. They were conditioned to identify with the daemon. The final level of initiation reveals that there is only one daemon shared by all.
While it’s not overtly taught, the idea that all is One and finds its source in unbounded Mind is found in the Bible. Our first clue is in the first chapter of Genesis. God spoke the world into existence. Reality is the product of words. This is idealism. This is reiterated in the first chapter of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” The world is made up of language. Language is the product of Mind. This is the Logos.
Just as mysticism identifies the cultural hero with the single infinite but unknowable God, Jesus identifies himself with the Father God in John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.” He then took it a step further and made the connection with us in John 14:20, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” He wanted us to make the connection that we are all one: John 17:11, “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” And again in John 17:21-23, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”
Paul also emphasized our oneness in God. In Acts 17:28 he states, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” He reiterates this in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “He that is joined to God becomes one spirit with him.” He tried to help us see past our multiplicity to realize we were one with each other and identified with Christ. He states in Romans 12:5, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Not only did he identify us as one with Christ but that we drink from the same spirit that gives us life. He states this in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” He reiterates this in Ephesians 4:1-6, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”
As clear as this seems to me it is still counterintuitive which is why many people read these things in the Bible without it registering. This is why John says in John 1:10-13, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”